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Homily for Sunday 12th July

GOSPEL REFLECTION

“The one who received the seed in rich soil is the man who hears the word and understands it; he is the one who yields a harvest and produces now a hundred-fold, now sixty, now thirty.”

I will tell you a story written by an English doctor, Dr Helen Rose Venres. She was a missionary in the Congo in Africa from 1953 to 1973. One night I had worked hard to help a mother in the labour ward; but in spite of all that we could do, she died leaving us with a tiny, premature baby and a crying, two-year-old daughter. We would have difficulty keeping the baby alive, as we had no incubator. We had no electricity to run an incubator.

One student went to stoke up the fire and fill a hot water bottle. She came back shortly in distress to tell me that in filling the bottle, it had burst. Rubber perishes easily in tropical climates and “…it is our last hot water bottle!”

The following noon I went to have prayers with the orphanage children. I told them about the tiny baby. I explained our problem about keeping the baby warm enough, mentioning the hot water bottle. The baby could so easily die if it got chills. I also told them of the two-year-old sister, crying because her mother had died.

During the prayer time, one ten-year-old girl, Ruth, prayed with the usual blunt conciseness of our African children. “Please God,” she prayed, “send us a water bottle. It will be no good tomorrow as the baby will be dead, so please send it this afternoon, and while You are about it, would You please send a dolly for the little girl so she’ll know You really love her?”

The only way God could answer this particular prayer would be by sending me a parcel from England. I had been in Africa for almost 4 years at that time, and I have never, ever received a parcel from home. Anyway, if anyone did send me a parcel from home, there surely wouldn’t be any water bottle. I lived on the equator!

By the time that I reached home, on the veranda, was a large twenty-two-pound parcel! As I put my hand in the parcel, I felt …could it really be? I grasped it and pulled it out. Yes, a brand-new rubber, hot water bottle! I cried.

I had not asked God to send it; I had not truly believed that He could. Ruth was in the front row of the children. She rushed forward, crying out, “If God has sent the bottle, He must have sent the dolly, too!” Rummaging down to the bottom of the box, she pulled out the small, beautifully dressed dolly. Her eyes shone: She had never doubted!

That parcel had been on the way for five whole months.

“Before they call, I will answer!” (Isaiah 65:24)

In the second reading St Paul’s letter to the Romans, Chapter 8, St Paul says out purpose is to live, not in this kingdom on earth, but to live in God’s Kingdom in heaven.

“From the beginning till now the entire creation, as we know, has been groaning in one great act of giving birth … we groan inwardly as we wait for our bodies to be set free.” Adam and Eve lived in paradise, but due to sin, Adam and Eve were cast out of paradise. From then, all of creation has been groaning as we try to re-establish God’s Kingdom on the earth. Our Lord, by His Life of perfect self-offering, especially by His self-offering on the Cross re-established God’s Kingdom on the earth. As He said: “The Kingdom of God has come upon you.” (Matthew 12-28)

On another occasion, in Luke 20,21, Our Lord was asked by the Pharisees when the Kingdom of God is coming. He answered the: “The Kingdom of God is not coming with signs to be observed; nor will they say, “Lo, here it is!” or “There! for behold, the Kingdom of God is in your midst.” Some translations say, “The Kingdom of God is within you.” In other words, the Kingdom of God is already here, on the earth.

What is separating us from experiencing or living in the Kingdom of God is our lack of virtue or our lack of love. When we do God’s Will “on earth as it is in heaven.” Then the thin veil separating us from heaven will vanish or be no more.

Our Lord taught us that our Guardian Angel is also in heaven.

Your “angels in heaven always see the Face of My Father in heaven.” (Matthew 18:10) So, our angels, while they are always by our side, are always in heaven.

Our Blessed Mother because she was the Immaculate Conception, conceived without sin, was not subject to the sin of Adam. Therefore, she was more of heaven, or God’s Kingdom than of this earthy kingdom. Our Blessed Mother spoke to a Luisa Piccarreta, in Italy, in the 1930’s: On one occasion the choir of angels said about our Blessed Mother: “Who is She? All beautiful, all holy … so much is her greatness that the heavens lowered themselves to receive Her.”

“She lacks nothing! Of all the works of her Creator, She is the only complete work of all creation!”

We are not called for this world; we are called for God’s Kingdom. We are called therefore to not live in the ways of the world but the ways of God’s Kingdom.

In God’s Kingdom, Heaven, a person has no selfishness, fear, or vice, but only love.

Recently someone asked me if I wanted to be the greatest saint of all time.

After a pause, I said, “yes.” And wow, what a difference that has made to my life. I am more conscious of my bad thoughts, for example. Before that moment I wasn’t so aware as I am now of how easily I would entertain useless thoughts. Now I will not allow myself to think those thoughts. AInstead, I ask myself, would Jesus think those thoughts?

Would the angels and saints in heaven think those thoughts?

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